Neck pain makes it hard to focus on your work or go about your usual activities. When you have pain or spasms every time you move your head, you're ready to find relief. You may need to see a doctor if your pain doesn't clear up on its own in a few days. Here are some causes of neck pain and some treatments that might provide relief and healing.

What Causes Neck Pain

Many things can cause pain in your neck, so your doctor has to pinpoint the cause before the treatment is chosen. The cause could be bad posture when you're working on a computer all day. You might have a poor sleeping position that keeps your neck strained for several hours at night. You could have a medical condition such as arthritis, or the pain might be the result of a car accident or fall. Any abnormality that affects the joints, nerves, or muscles in your neck can lead to pain and discomfort.

Home Treatments That Help Neck Pain

Rest can help with neck pain when the pain is caused by holding your head in a strained position all day such as when a computer is positioned too low or you drive for several hours in a row. By giving your neck a chance to rest, it has time to heal and recover. Along with resting your neck, you can apply ice or a heating pad that can provide pain relief. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications might help if you can take them. These treatments are often enough to allow your pain to clear up in a matter of days.

Medical Treatments That Might Be Needed

When home neck pain treatments don't help, or when your pain is severe or you have additional symptoms such as a fever or numbness in your arm, see a doctor for an evaluation and treatment. Your doctor might prescribe pain medications, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatory drugs. You might even be given a shot in your neck that numbs the pain or decreases inflammation.

Your doctor might also send you to a physical therapist since stretching can help tight muscles and making weak muscles stronger helps support the weight of your head. Your therapist might also teach you how to work on a computer and tablet in an ergonomic manner so you don't strain your neck.

Chiropractic treatments can sometimes help pain caused by whiplash or spinal compression. If your pain is caused by whiplash, you may wonder if you should wear a foam collar to support your neck, but speak to your doctor about it first. A neck collar can make your neck weaker and complicate recovery if you wear it more than your doctor recommends.

Surgery might even be needed for severe cases of neck pain. A procedure such as a spinal fusion stabilizes the spine to better support your neck. However, your doctor will probably try other forms of neck pain treatment first. You may need to undergo various diagnostic tests to determine the condition of your muscles or nerves and to measure how well the treatments work. Contact neck pain treatment professionals to learn more.